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DoN SnG Challenge Update 11

Comments: 10
This is my best update so far! No major downswings and I had time to put in a lot of volume. I was finally able to significantly increase the number of simultaneous tables I'm playing too which made a big difference.

Current DoN SnG Challenge Bankroll is at $1,542 a whopping $732 more since my last update. An increase of around 90%. That's almost double!!!! Can you tell I'm excited!?!?!?!? :)

I ran pretty decent too. 58% winrate with a 7.6% ROI. When I first started playing these games (before I started this challenge) my winrate was just over 60% so I'm starting to creep back up closer to that number.

Sundays no longer seem to be a problem. They used to be my worst day but last Sunday was my best. I played a little over 100 SnGs and had a 68% winrate which gave me a 26% ROI netting me $145.

There were a number of things I felt made a difference which I'll discuss in further detail below. Plus what's going to happen next with the challenge.

Table Layout

In the past I was playing with my tables in a tiled configuration. I felt that it was important to see the action even in hands I wasn't in. This month I started stacking my tables. All the tables were the same size, one directly on top of the other.

One of the problems with tiling is with 6 tables tiled they are pretty small and start to become uncomfortable to view. Especially the HUD stats. At 9 tables plus it's even harder. I've even played 20 tables tiled in the past but my results weren't very good. My hand also would get strained easily from having to constantly move the mouse all over the screen.

With my tables stacked I can keep them all at a size that makes everything easy to read. When a hand comes up that I want to pay closer attention to I can pop it off the stack and then push it back onto the stack when I'm done.

One nice benefit is that when I push all in in the late stages of the tournament the table disappears back into the stack so I don't have to see what garbage gave me a bad beat. The lobby pops up if I lose and nothing happens if I win. This has kept me from tilting.

I'm not able to make some of the good reads that I feel helped me in the past so I've had to make some adjustments to my game. I'm still able to pick off my fair share of bluffs, take people off weak hands and avoid traps but not as well as I did in the past. Not too many big hero calls on the river with nothing but Ace high because I know it's good.

Even with my tables stacked I was able to spot 2 pairs of DoN cheaters which I reported to PokerStars and they were banned from the site.

Playing a Set Time Instead of Set Number of Tables

In the past I generally loaded up a bunch of tables and played them until they were all complete and didn't add new tables unless I busted out of one very early.

I still think this is my favorite way to play because each table is at the same blind level throughout the session. It speeds up my decision making process because I don't have to stop and check what blind level we're at.

The blind levels affect many things including my hand ranges but more importantly the game starts off very passive and boring and then gets to be very intense at the bubble. Having to switch gears drastically every few seconds can be confusing.

It's caused me some problems. I've folded hands I would normally play and I've played hands I would normally fold. That's in addition to the misclicks from playing so many tables at a time.

Before I started trying this with the $5 DoNs I played a bunch of the $1 DoNs with this new configuration just to get the hang of it. Things went well so I moved back up to the $5 DoNs. I'm still making some mistakes but I feel it's under control now.

After all my tables would finish I would take a break, get something to drink, get up and stretch. This really helped me unwind and get ready to start over with the right mentality for a new set at the first blind level.

This month I've been loading up a new table whenever one closes so I always have a set number of tables running. I do this for a predefined period of time.

Towards the end of the set any tables that are still running have high blinds and decisions are more critical. At that point I only have a few tables open so I can take more time for each decision.

Looking at the tables/hour and adjusting based on the increased number of simultaneous tables it doesn't appear to increase my volume. I'm going to try going back to the way I played previously with the current number of tables I'm playing now and make a final decision.

Right now I'm sitting at the computer longer constantly having to focus without that break every hour or so. What's worse is the times late at night when I fired up a session and felt fine but the last 30 minutes or so I was literally falling asleep at my computer and only waking up when PokerStars buzzer went off alerting me it was my turn. Strangely enough, that didn't effect my performance :)


It seems like every month I'm just short of reaching GoldStar VIP status on PokerStars. At the end of last month it was no different but I really wanted to try and make it. I downloaded a trial version of TableNinja to help me put in the volume I needed.

I missed it by around 150 VPP but I found TableNinja to be very helpful. I haven't used all of TableNinja's features yet but these are the ones I found most helpful:
Sit-n-Go Opener
You set up your SnG filter in the PokerStars client, let TableNinja know how many tables you want to keep open at a time and how long you want it to keep opening tables for then click the Start button. It will start registering you in the SnGs you specified and every time one is finished it closes it and registers you for a new one. This was very easy to set up and does exactly what it's supposed to. It's a big time saver.
Sit-n-Go Betting
This looks a little confusing but once you figure it out it's pretty simple. You can assign three pre flop raise sizes based on blind level that will be assigned to a different hot key. So for example when the BB is less than 50 your preflop raise can be set to 4BB + 1BB per limper. When you hit the hot key, TableNinja will enter the appropriate raise in the bet input box on the table. You can even choose to have it click the Bet button for you. I've only set up the default one and find it very useful, especially if you want to make raises like 2.5xBB which you would have to enter in manually on PokerStars.
Pot Betting
Post-flop TableNinja can also enter in your bets based on the size of the pot. You can set up a different percentage for each street (flop, turn, river) and even how much post-flop raises should be. If you always cbet 70% of the pot on the flop TableNinja will calculate it for you which saves a bit of time and brainpower which is important when multitabling.
Action Hotkeys
There are a lot of different hotkeys you can set up in TableNinja. Instead of clicking on the Bet/Call/Check/Fold buttons with your mouse you can click a key on your keyboard. Using TableNinja you can play an entire SnG without even touching your mouse if you set things up properly. In DoNs the fold button gets used alot so I set up a hotkey for that. I also set up a hot key that will shove which comes in useful during the late stages of the tournaments.
Table Control
The PokerStars client handles stacked tables pretty well and brings up tables that need attention. TableNinja improves on that by allowing you to set hotkeys to move forwards and backwards through your stack and pop tables out to up to 4 other locations if you want to keep an eye on the action. This is my favorite feature of TableNinja. My table setup is as if I had 4 tiled tables. The lower left tile is where all the tables are stacked. Tiles A-C are where I pop out tables I want to monitor. I've gotten into the habit of stacking any tables that I'm short stacked near the bubble into Tile C. That way based on it's location on the screen I know that I'm in push or fold mode and don't accidentally make a mistake if I'm not paying enough attention. TableNinja also paints a border around any table that requires attention. This doesn't do much for stacked tables but makes it easy to spot tables that require input if you're playing tiled or overlapped.
Dealing with Annoyances
TableNinja does some little things that make a big difference. It can automatically click on the timebank button if you're taking too long on a different table and if you don't get to it in time and sit out it will automatically sit you back in. It's horrible to not realize you're sitting out at a table. You basically waste your buy-in. With 20 tables tiled I've run into this problem in the past because parts of the tables overlap with this many tables open. Another neat feature is the ability to automatically refresh the info tab so you can quickly see what your position is when the table pops up for action.
I'll put up another post soon with more details on TableNinja and the settings I'm using.

The increase in volume TableNinja helped me achieve got me to GoldStar status within the first 2 weeks of the month. I might even have a shot at reaching PlatinumStar depending on my schedule. With GoldStar I get 2 FPPs for every VPP I earn and at PlatinumStar it's 2.5 FPPs per VPP. That's going to significantly increase the rate at which I earn the VIP Rewards Bonuses. That alone can pay for the cost of the program.

There are some free AHK scripts you can use instead of TableNinja but I found TableNinja a lot easier to use.

The biggest downside of using TableNinja is that it doesn't currently support the Slick Theme which is the base for my Simple-Slick Theme. I put a lot of effort into that theme and feel it has helped my performance. I threw together a version of it that works with TableNinja but it's not as nice. Hopefully TableNinja includes support for the Slick theme soon.

There is a free 30 day trial available that you can download here. A warning though. Once you start using it you might not want to stop using it. Luckily a license is only around $60.

Moving Up In Stakes

When my bankroll reached $1,000 (which I was hoping to achieve a lot sooner) I was going to move up to the $10 DoNs. I'm $500 past the $1k mark but I'm still playing the $5 DoNs.

Things seem to be going so well and I'm so happy with my new setup that I don't want to change things just yet. The amount of VPPs and FPPs I'm earning is nice and I want to see if I can reach PlatinumStar this month.

When I move up to the $10 DoNs I'm going to have to drop down the number of tables I'm playing until I get a better feel for that level and the regulars there so I don't want to give up my volume until the end of the month. It's hard to pay attention and take notes with more than 2-4 tables going.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do next month. It's likely going to be the $5 DoNs with some $10 DoNs mixed in until I feel comfortable at that level. That way I can get my feet wet and still make the money I know I can make at the $5 tables.

I'm probably being too much of a bankroll nit and might change my plan by the end of the month. We'll see what happens.

10 Response to "DoN SnG Challenge Update 11"

Rishan Says....

Hey Micro,

Great post!

I was kinda hoping that you were going to address some of the problems I told you about before, but still a great read nonetheless.

Thanks, keep up the great work!

MicroRoller Says....


Thanks. I haven't forgotten about your email. I'll be addressing it in a separate post soon.

TomDaMan533 Says....

Great Post, Nice work, I did something similar switching to huge cascade tables instead of tile. It helps me see the entire table much clearer and like you said dissapearing tables behind others helps you focus on your next decision.

MicroRoller Says....


It might have been your blog or LARuseman's where I read about not watching the hand after shoving.

I noticed that I'd get tilted and do stupid things on other tables. Especially if the player that sucked out on me was at the other tables.

Rishan Says....

Hey Micro,

Haha alright thanks, looking foroward to it!

TomDaMan533 Says....

Im going to try your stacked approach looks like a winner. Think im planning taking games that are in the bubble and putting them in another square. And have a blank square for new games that start and replace old ones. That way I have a good idea on the blinds at each table.

xecrassy Says....

I have a a question. This might be stupid but I've seen something about Rake paid and Rake back and I got no idea what that is ..

SOmeone here that might wanna explain that to me ?

MicroRoller Says....


Rake is the amount the poker room keeps for playing on their site. When you play cash games they take a portion out of the pot. When you play tournaments they take a fee out. So when you play a $10 + $0.80 tournament the $0.80 is the rake.

Some sites offer rakeback if you sign up through an affiliate. With rakeback you get a portion of the rake you paid back every month.

You can sign up for rakeback through my site at

PokerStars doesn't offer rakeback. Instead you earn VPPs and FPPs which can be used for cash bonuses.

xecrassy Says....

When I play poker I get my total balance up to 3 times what i started with. I've gone from 10 to 30 like 5 times and everytime i've lost down to 15-20. And then went back up again a few days later.

Have anyone had the similiar problem that I have , like a mental block? And what should I change for it not to happen again.

THanks in advance

Anonymous Says....

Hey there been reading up on you. I am gonna start my own challenge but use regular 9 man sit and go's and compare, might be interesting. I know you started this way back when but can you tell me how many you have played since the challenge started? Thanks

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